July 23, 2021

GOES-17 Is Back Online After Engineers Resolve A Computer Error


Some good news on the satellite front: GOES-17 is going to be just fine.

The weather satellite, which covers the Pacific Ocean and the western half of the Americas, came back online a little before 9:00 a.m. Eastern today after a 31-hour outage caused by an onboard computer error. 

NOAA’s GOES-17 is out of safe-hold mode and engineers expect its six instruments to return to normal operations soon. The probable cause of yesterday’s anomaly appears to be a memory bit error in the spacecraft computer. The engineering team says the computer has been responding correctly to commands. 

Earlier this morning, the Advanced Baseline Imager and Magnetometer were restored and data are flowing. The remaining four instruments are expected to come online later this morning.  The team expects some minor, short-term data quality issues while the instruments are being recalibrated, but GOES-17 is on track for a full recovery with no lasting effects to the satellite.
Whew.

Just about all of the products you'd ever need are up and running again.

The above image of actinoform clouds over the Pacific Ocean is from just a little while ago. (The clouds are mesmerizing to watch on a loop if you've never had the pleasure.)


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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I ran Gawker's The Vane for two years and I've contributed to Mental Floss, Forbes, Popular Science, and the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang. I also teamed up with Outdoor Life to write a book called The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, which came out in October 2015.

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